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1 August 2013 Reducing accidental shrew mortality associated with small-mammal livetrapping II: a field experiment with bait supplementation
Randy Do, Julia Shonfield, Andrew G. McAdam
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Abstract

Accidental mortality is pervasive in small mammal livetrapping studies and presents a welfare concern for the particularly vulnerable shrews (Soricomorpha: Soricidae). Although small mammal researchers are aware of this problem and generally suspect that high mortality rates are caused by nutritional constraints and potentially high moisture requirements, these hypotheses have not been widely tested and the problem persists for lack of a practical solution. We conducted a field experiment to assess the effects of providing either high-energy palatable food or water supplements on mortality rates of Blarina brevicauda and Sorex spp. using standard small mammal livetrapping techniques. Water supplements had no effect on shrew mortality, but mortality rates declined by 49% for B. brevicauda and by 64% for Sorex spp. when sunflower seed bait was supplemented with 4 g of mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) compared to controls. Furthermore, the addition of mealworms as a bait supplement eliminated the adverse effect on mortality of the length of time that Sorex were in traps prior to release. The supplementation of live-trap baits with mealworms, therefore, represents a practical method for small mammal researchers to reduce accidental shrew mortality during small mammal livetrapping.

Randy Do, Julia Shonfield, and Andrew G. McAdam "Reducing accidental shrew mortality associated with small-mammal livetrapping II: a field experiment with bait supplementation," Journal of Mammalogy 94(4), 754-760, (1 August 2013). https://doi.org/10.1644/12-MAMM-A-242.1
Received: 19 September 2012; Accepted: 1 December 2012; Published: 1 August 2013
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